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I'm currently having issues with a server which randomly freezes. The server is running:

  1. OpenSUSE 42.2, with latest updates
  2. Kernel 4.10.1-2.g561cf31-default (from kernel.opensuse.org)
  3. Docker version 1.12.6, build 78d1802
  4. VirtualBox 5.1.14r112924
  5. The machine has 12 cores & 32GB ram and has hyper threading enabled. (after all services have been started there is ~19GB free RAM left)

For a long time we have been using VirtualBox to create virtual machines with various Linux distributions so we can test our product. Recently we decided to migrate our Linux based VirtualBox machines to Docker. Unfortunately we can't fully migrate to Docker just yet. This is why we have kept a 1 virtual machine running as well. At first, everything was working flawlessly, but once time went by, the machine started freezing randomly. There are no logs and nor indication of what might be causing this. I have ruled out hardware issues - we have enough CPU, RAM and HDD to run all the services we need and the hardware is working fine.

As an experiment, I stopped all of the VirtualBox machines and disabled all VirtualBox related services which were starting at boot and rebooted. So far we haven't had a single freeze.

This leads to my questions - can Docker and VirtualBox run on the same machine without interfering with each other?

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    Virtualbox is not a server-grade virtualization platform. I’d recommend looking into KVM, VMware ESXi, or Hyper-V.
    – EEAA
    Apr 21, 2017 at 21:41

1 Answer 1

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Based on a forum post with the exact same problem I found from 2014, it apperas you shouldn't be running both Docker and VirtualBox at the same time. The exact quote is:

You should not run two virtualizers at the same time. Bad things can happen.

Post can be found here.

P.S. Please feel free to post an answer/comment should the situation change in the future.

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  • I've got VBox VMs and Docker containers running on multiple hosts. I've bumped that post to see if it's still true. If it were true then I believe it would break the isolation model needed for proper virtualisation. Apr 21, 2017 at 4:24
  • Thanks for posting on the thread. From what I've learned so far - running Docker and VirtualBox on the same machine at the same time will be problematic at some point. You could have your server up and running without a problem for a few days and then it can randomly freeze (which was what happened to us). However, you can run VirtualBox VMs and install Docker inside the VM. That should work just fine.
    – tftd
    Apr 21, 2017 at 17:15
  • Thanks. I'm just speaking from experience. I have VirtualBox VMs and Docker containers running side-by-side in a production environment and the only real issue I've run into is a netfilter bug. Early on, I did have a freeze but traced it and solve a bug in getty, but the issue was specific to Gentoo guests, and even existed when Virtualbox was not running. The VMs themselves have been running together in a production environment for 6 months now without a hitch. Could be different versions or images chosen. YMMV. Apr 24, 2017 at 0:48

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